February 19th, 2010
Not content to have started the “Demon Sheep” meme that gave such joy to so many earlier in the month, California’s Carly Fiorina decided to relaunch her “Call Me Barbara” microsite this week — said “relaunch” apparently consisting of a single Twitter post. But what the heck, it gives us a chance to tear the site to shreds with great glee and no little abandon.
First, just the facts (ma’am). The site’s raison d’être is to highlight incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer’s upbraiding of an Army general for repeatedly referring to her by the female honorific rather than as “Senator” during a hearing — pretty thin gruel for a scandal, though not Boxer’s best moment as an elected official. But thin gruel pretty well defines “Call Me Barbara,” a website that’s as sloppy as it is light on content.
About that content: the site centers around a short video clip of Boxer’s exchange with the general, advertised as “the 30 seconds Barbara Boxer doesn’t want you to see.” Except that as a DailyKos diarist noted, the clip is only 16 seconds long…a bit of over-promising that seems to sum this whole sucker up. Besides the video, all we have to play with is some recycled press releases and a Donate button — we don’t even get to join her email list! The site also links to an empty Twitter feed, a video-free YouTube channel and, for some reason, the Facebook home page (the actual Fan page must still be in the oven). But creating and abandoning social networking presences seems to be par for the Fiorina campaign course, since the FCINO/Killer Death Sheep site’s Fan page has no updates or information and all of twelve friends, at least two of whom are known Democratic activists (another is a beheaded French queen).
Ah, we could go on all day (check out the interesting bolding issues on this page), but why kick a dead horse? Well, here’s why — a candidate’s web presence is part of his or her public face. Voters aren’t likely to vote against someone just because they have an empty YouTube profile, but consistent sloppiness and neglect in a public place WILL contribute to the overall impression of a campaign. Would you send out yard signs with a typo?
Considering that “Call Me Barbara” launched in November, Fiorina’s online staff has had plenty of time find the bugs and fill in the gaps. The fact that they haven’t speaks volumes about her potential future performance in office, and foreshadows an end to her campaign as ignominious as her departure from Hewlett Packard. Competent campaigns don’t always win, but incompetent ones rarely do — and Fiorina’s ain’t looking too sharp from here.
(Thanks to Brian Devine for the initial tip.)